The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

SEC Weekend Rewind: Week 13

16 days ago
Brandon Zimmerman | SEC Network

Moments after his LSU team had put the finishing touches on clinching its first SEC West championship since 2011 by defeating Arkansas on Saturday night, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron wasn't looking ahead to Atlanta.

Instead, Orgeron was focused on something else. Texas A&M. Not because it is the next game, but because of what happened last year.

The Aggies' 74-72, seven overtime win over LSU in College Station has stuck with Orgeron and the Tigers for an entire calendar year.

"There's no question about that," Orgeron said Saturday night. "It's going to be on. No question. I'll never forget that game last year. We're going to be ready."

Count LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Herlaire among those who is already ready to get revenge on the Aggies.

"We owe those guys a lot from last year," Edwards-Helaire said Saturday night. "The pain, everything we felt. It doesn't get any worse than that."

It was the last time anyone in an LSU uniform has tasted defeat. The Tigers went on to defeat UCF in the Fiesta Bowl, and carried the momentum into an 11-0 start this season. A win over the Aggies on Saturday could very much be enough to assure LSU its first College Football Playoff berth.

However, revenge is LSU's primary motivation this week. The Tigers lost a marathon game that was historic on many levels.

The 146 combined points were the most in an FBS game in NCAA history. The game lasted nearly five hours. The seven overtimes prompted the NCAA to change its overtime rules to prevent such marathon contests in the future.

Additionally, coach Ed Orgeron coached the entire seven overtimes drenched in Gatorade. The Tigers players prematurely dumped the water cooler over Orgeron after the Tigers appeared to have a clinching interception in the final moments. But the interception was overturned on video replay after it was determined Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond's knee was down before he threw the pass. The Aggies retained possession, and seconds later forced overtime.

LSU's players talked Saturday night about teammates crying in the locker room after last year's game. It was a heartbreaking end to the regular season. This year, the Tigers have the chance to play for bigger things beyond Texas A&M. That doesn't make Saturday's game any less important.

ALABAMA'S PLAYOFF HOPES STILL ALIVE: It's a strange feeling to be focused on Texas A&M - LSU during Iron Bowl week. But this is certainly a different kind of season in the SEC West.

This will be the first season since 2011 that the Iron Bowl winner won't play in the SEC title game.

That's not to say there isn't anything to play for beyond bragging rights. Alabama, No. 5 in last week's College Football Playoff rankings, still has an outside shot to sneak into the playoffs.

No. 6 Oregon losing to Arizona State on Saturday certainly helped. Alabama's path to the playoff begins with beating Auburn, then hoping for plenty of chaos to ensure.

The question surrounding the Tide has been are they still an elite team with Mac Jones replacing the injured Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. This is the week we will find out.

Jones wasn't asked to do much against Western Carolina on Saturday - he threw only 12 times - but amassed 275 passing yards and three touchdowns. Jones, who also started in the Tide's Oct. 26 win over Arkansas, is now 28-for-34 passing for 510 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in two starts. Both of those starts were at home against lesser opponents.

Coach Nick Saban and Jones both know that will all change this week on the road at Jordan-Hare Stadium against an elite Tigers defense.

"I don't think there's anything to prove," Jones said. "Honestly, I'm just trying to win as many games and take that play-by-play and do your job every play. The big-picture stuff will play out as it does."

GEORGIA'S DEFENSE DOES IT AGAIN: It's never easy with Georgia this season. The Bulldogs' offense isn't designed to pull away from teams, leaving Georgia susceptible to playing in close games. And boy, have they.

It happened again on Saturday, when Texas A&M mounted a fourth quarter comeback and was driving into Georgia territory for the potential go-ahead touchdown with under five minutes left. And like they did against Notre Dame and Auburn earlier this year, Georgia's defense won the game with a fourth quarter stop.

For the game, the Bulldogs' defense held Texas A&M to negative one-yard rushing, and only allowed one touchdown. On the season, Georgia has only allowed 13 touchdowns in 11 games. Opponents have been held without a touchdown in 20 of the last 23 quarters against the Bulldogs.

TENNESSEE TURNAROUND: Jeremy Pruitt etched another chapter in Tennessee's historic turnaround season on Saturday when the Vols (6-5 overall, 4-3 SEC) became bowl eligible with a 24-20 upset win at Missouri.

In the process, the Vols became the fifth team to win at least six games after starting a season 1-4. The others are 2017 Missouri, 2010 Georgia, 1986 Florida and 1975 Ole Miss.

Tennessee has a chance to finish to finish the regular season with a 7-5 record with a win over Vanderbilt this week, and, believe it or not, reach eight wins with a bowl win. Not bad for a team that had only one win as recently as Oct. 12.

EXTRA POINTS: Texas A&M is set to become the first team in the AP Poll era (since 1936) to face the No. 1 team three times in a season in Clemson, Alabama and this week, LSU. ... LSU is the first team in SEC history to feature a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers in the same season. ... Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship passed former kicker Blair Walsh as Georgia's career scoring leader Saturday, concluding the game with four field goals. He also extended his school record PATs-made streak to 190. ...Georgia's Jake Fromm has not thrown an interception in five straight games dating back to his three interception game against South Carolina. ... Auburn quarterback Bo Nix now has 2,193 passing yards on the season, second among Auburn freshmen all-time, 49 yards shy of the Auburn freshman record (2,242 by Stan White, 1990). ... Alabama has defeated 91 consecutive unranked teams under head coach Nick Saban, the longest streak in FBS history. ... The Crimson Tide have now forced at least one turnover in 65 of its last 70 contests dating back to the start of the 2015 season. ... Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney, a preseason second team All-SEC selection, had five catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday after having only 15 catches and no TDs all season.